8 Powerful Candidate Experience Tips to Boost Hiring Success


Philip Spain


min read


24 May 2024

In light of Evidenced winning gold in IHR Supplier Awards for Candidate Experience, I thought it a good time to share some learnings about candidate experience from conducting 1000s of interviews.

⏳ Interviewers turning up late is surprisingly common

Ok maybe it’s not that surprising 😅, but candidate time not being respected is one of the most common reasons they withdraw from the hiring process.

Interviews are stressful for candidates, and every minute sat waiting for the interviewer to arrive can ramp up the discomfort and frustration.

This is another example where even if it only happens infrequently, it will have a disproportionately negative impact on offer acceptance rates with the most in-demand candidates.

💥 The experience doesn’t have to be particularly bad to put a significant dent in hiring KPIs

If the candidate journey doesn’t meet the expectations of the target talent pool, offer acceptance rates with the best candidates will drop.

This will lead to reduced quality-of-hire over time which can quickly become a vicious cycle.

🤯 There’s only so much an interviewer can do during an interview, choose wisely!

The number of simultaneous responsibilities an interviewer has during an interview can be overwhelming: working through questions/tasks, taking notes, asking relevant follow-up questions, mapping observations to hiring criteria, timekeeping. I could go on...

This cognitive load experienced by interviewers is huge and asking them to focus on candidate experience will naturally result in reduced focus elsewhere.

Taking away some of the basic tasks that occupy their brain, e.g documenting what happens or giving them a structure to follow, is an easy way to free up some capacity to focus on giving a great experience.

💸 It may be costing your company more than you realise

In 2014 Virgin Media estimated they’d lost almost £4.5M in lost customers as a result of their poor candidate experience.

Don’t forget: candidates are customers, what you’re selling is the role.

🙋‍♂️ Candidate feedback surveys can be misleading

The end-of-process survey completion rate for hired candidates is often close to double that from rejected candidates, and hired candidates are significantly more likely to rate their experience as positive.

Both these factors can combine to give you a rose-tinted view of your experience. Capturing feedback during the process can give a less biased (either way) picture of your candidate experience.

🤔 Even if you tell them, candidates will often still struggle to know exactly you’re looking for

Candidates are very likely interviewing at multiple companies with different processes and different requirements. Expecting candidates to know exactly what to say or demonstrate is both unreasonable and in my experience a massive waste of time and opportunity. Make it easy for candidates to show you what you’re looking for.

One of my favourite pieces of advice I give to new interviewers is:

“Go into the interview assuming the candidate is qualified, and that it’s your job to find evidence”.

This small shift in mindset for interviewers can help drastically improve both candidate experience and the fidelity of the evidence and feedback the interviewer is able to capture for more confident hiring decisions.

📐 Calibrating the difficulty of your interviews can be tough, but it’s important that they’re not too easy 😅

Two Glassdoor studies in 2015 and 2020 showed strong positive correlation between slightly harder-than-average interviews and both employee satisfaction and offer acceptance rate.

Asking for feedback from candidates is a good first step, but tracking candidate performance across the assessments you’re conducting e.g. the questions you’re asking, tasks being completed etc. will give you a more objective understanding of how challenging your interviews are for your candidates.

⚖️ Unconscious bias doesn’t just affect interviewers

Candidates have their own conscious and unconscious biases and preferences. By giving them exposure to a diverse panel of interviewers increases the chances of them meeting someone who endears them to your company and could help reduce the risk of them viewing your company through the lens of that one interviewer who is having a bad day.

Interviewing is a short but incredibly important window into what it’ll be like to work at your company and most importantly who they’ll be working with.

Looking to improve your candidate experience?

We record, transcribe and guide you through the interview so you can pay more attention to the candidate, and find the information that matters.